Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Announces Desmond K. Runyan as New Director of Clinical Scholars Program

    • February 28, 2007

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars Program today welcomed its new National Program Director, Desmond K. Runyan, M.D., Dr.P.H., professor of pediatrics. He is stepping down as the chair of the Department of Social Medicine at the University of North Carolina (UNC) today to accept the new position. He succeeds Iris F. Litt, M.D., who has directed the Clinical Scholars Program since 2003.

The change in leadership for the Clinical Scholars Program is accompanied by a change in location: As of today, the National Program Office (NPO) for the program moves from Stanford University, where Dr. Litt is retiring as Professor of Pediatrics, to UNC.

The Clinical Scholars Program is designed to augment the clinical training of young physicians by providing new skills and perspectives necessary to achieving leadership positions both within and outside the walls of academia. It is RWJF's oldest program and has produced more than 1000 Scholars, many of whom have gone on to become leaders in their fields.

A former Clinical Scholar himself, Runyan also directed the UNC Clinical Scholars Program for several years. He is a practicing pediatrician, and co-founded a comprehensive child abuse treatment center. He has conducted extensive research in the area of child abuse for the past 30 years, and organized the longest multi-site prospective study of the consequences of child abuse, LONGSCAN, now 16 years old. He has worked with scholars all over the world to increase child abuse knowledge among medical faculty. Runyan has been elected to the Society for Pediatric Research, the American Pediatric Society, and the board of directors for the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. He has just been appointed a founding member of a new subspecialty board in child abuse pediatrics of the American Board of Pediatrics.

"Desmond Runyan brings experience, passion, and great energy to his new leadership role with the Clinical Scholars Program," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. "We are delighted to welcome him back to our Clinical Scholars family."

Iris Litt will continue to direct RWJF's Physician Faculty Scholars Program, whose national program office is at Stanford University.

"Iris has been a wonderful leader and mentor to our Scholars. Happily we are not saying good-bye to her yet," added Lavizzo-Mourey.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with diverse groups of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime.